Lactic acid production using Kluyveromyces marxianus (IFO 288), Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus (ATCC 11842) and Lactobacillus helveticus (ATCC 15009) individually or as mixed culture on cheese whey in stirred or static fermentation conditions was evaluated. Lactic acid production, residual sugar and cell biomass were the main features examined. Increased lactic acid production was observed, when mixed cultures were used in comparison to individual ones. The highest lactic acid concentrations were achieved when K. marxianus yeast was combined with L. delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus, and when all the strains were used revealing possible synergistic effects between the yeast and the two lactic acid bacteria. The same synergistic effects were further observed and verified when the mixed cultures were applied in sourdough fermentations, proving that the above microbiological system could be applied in the food fermentations where high lactic acid production is sought. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.